Announced today by Minister of State for Tourism & Sport, Michael Ring, €685,000 worth of funding has been approved for regional festivals across Ireland next year.

“Next year promises to be a great one for festivals, with a huge range of local events taking place in almost every corner of Ireland", Minister Ring said.

Among the festivals and events benefitting from today's announement of funding include Drogheda Samba Festival, The Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half Marathon, Dublin Bay Prawn Festival, Kenmare FOod Festival, Dingle Tradfest and the Bray Jazz Festival.

The Galway Comedy Festival, Roscommon Lamb Festival and Sarsfield's Day Pageant in Limerick will also benefit from the funding.

“Our local festivals and events are the perfect opportunity to showcase all that Ireland has to offer, whether it’s our culture, our people or our places. Local festivals are central to the Government’s plans to develop the tourism industry" Minister Ring explained. He added: "It’s estimated that they are worth some €450 million for the economy, and they provide vital bednights in communities everywhere".

Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland stressed the importance of festivals for Ireland and the tourism sector: ‘Wherever you go around Ireland next year, the year of the Gathering, there will be festivals and things to see and do everywhere. Behind all the fun and enjoyment lies a strong business case. The simple matter is, interesting and attractive festivals bring people into this country and encourage people to travel throughout the country".